From: Brendan Riley, Associated Press
Published April 17, 2007 12:00 AM

Vegas Plan To Pump Water from Rural Nevada Approved on Smaller Scale

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- A request to pump billions of gallons of groundwater to booming Las Vegas from a valley near the Nevada-Utah line was cut to less than half the amount in a plan approved Monday by the state's engineer.

The pipes will be shut off if existing wells and other existing water rights in Spring Valley suffer during Southern Nevada Water Authority's pumping the next 10 years, state Engineer Tracy Taylor said.

A recent drought cycle has cut heavily into southern Nevada's share of Colorado River water, prompting the city to look elsewhere for water.

Utah officials, ranchers, conservationists and even the Mormon Church objected to Las Vegas' request to pump water from their areas.

Susan Land of the Great Basin Water Network, which had opposed the original pumping request, termed the decision "a victory of sorts" and questioned whether the massive project to pipe water more than 200 miles south to Las Vegas remained financially feasible.

"My sense is they are going to have to rethink this project," Land said. "This jacks the price of their pipeline way up. Right now, it doesn't seem very cost-effective."

A spokesman for the water authority said there would be no appeal.

"We find the decision is conservative but very reasonable," Scott Huntley said. "This certainly justifies moving forward."

Water authority attorney Paul Taggart other states have developed their own instate water sources, and Nevada must do the same.

Source: Associated Press

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